Epiris today announces that Bonhams, the global auction house and a portfolio company of Epiris Fund II, has acquired The Market, the digital marketplace for classic car auctions. Fund II has made a further investment in Bonhams to fund the acquisition, which is the fifth add-on acquisition to be completed by a Fund II portfolio company. Financial terms are not being disclosed.

Bonhams is one of the world’s leading auctioneers of fine art and antiquities, motor cars and jewellery. Founded in London in 1793, the business now operates globally from flagship sale rooms in London, New York, Los Angeles, Paris and Hong Kong, and this year will hold more than 400 specialist sales across sixty different categories. Epiris invested in Bonhams in 2018.

The Market is an online and mobile digital auction platform for classic and collectible cars and motorcycles. Founded in Oxfordshire in 2017 by Tim Joslyn, the company is growing fast and in the last year sold vehicles worth £13 million. The Market will add a new dimension to Bonhams’ market-leading motoring department, which runs some of the world’s most prestigious sales of rare and significant collectors’ cars as well as sales of more affordable vintage, classic and modern cars.

Bonhams is run by Chief Executive Bruno Vinciguerra, and its Motoring Department is led by Managing Director Maarten ten Holder.

Owen Wilson, Partner at Epiris, said:

“We are all extremely excited to welcome Tim and his team to Bonhams. They have built a successful digital business which now gives Bonhams access to a high-growth part of the motoring market immediately adjacent to its existing position. At the same time, Bonhams’ global platform will enable The Market to accelerate its international growth ambitions.”

Alex Fortescue, Managing Partner at Epiris, said:

“We have always had a clear vision for Bonhams: a digitally-enabled business occupying the leading global position in its niches. This acquisition is another step towards fully realising this vision, further advancing the digital transformation we started with Bruno almost three years ago, whilst also building scale in an important specialist area. We are thrilled that Tim and his team will join the Bonhams family and share this vision.”

Bruno Vinciguerra, Chief Executive of Bonhams, said:

“Digital channels now account for half of Bonhams’ business, and the acquisition of The Market will increase this further. There is a strong fit between Bonhams and The Market and I am very excited about our future together.”

The Epiris team on the deal is Alex Fortescue, Owen Wilson and Zoe Lai. Epiris and Bonhams are advised by Travers Smith, RPC and Mazars.




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About Epiris

Epiris is a top-decile* private equity firm which invests in opportunities to transform businesses in partnership with exceptional management teams. It targets control positions in UK-headquartered businesses with an enterprise value of between £75 million and £500 million, deploying between £40 million and £150 million of equity.


Fund I

Between 2011 and 2016 Epiris invested £1 billion in buyouts and loan-to-own debt investments in respect of which it has delivered a gross IRR of 38%*. Synthetic net returns from this portfolio are in the top-decile of European private equity funds of comparable vintages.


Fund II

Epiris Fund II is an institutional private equity fund raised in 2017. Investments made by Fund II include Portals, one of the world’s leading manufacturers of “substrate” for banknotes; TI Media, one of the largest consumer magazine publishers in the UK; The Club Company, the UK’s largest country club operator; Bonhams, the global auction house; Diamorph, a supplier of advanced material solutions for demanding and safety-critical applications; and IFG Group, a financial services holding company whose subsidiaries are James Hay, which provides pensions administration and investment platform services, and Saunderson House, an independent wealth manager and financial adviser. In April 2020, the Fund sold TI Media to Future Plc for £140 million, generating a return of 2.1x MOIC, a 44% IRR.

For further information, please visit www.epiris.co.uk.

Issued by Epiris which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.

*As at 31 December 2020. Gross IRR does not reflect adjustments for investment management and administration costs. Comparator data supplied by Preqin. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.